A Sensible Suggestion

October 2017


Instead of counting sheep, I am one of those who has often induced sleep by inventing perpetual motion machines of the types 5, 8, and 9 illustrated in your April issue; and in lieu of sleeping pills I have as often achieved a restful night by mentally calculating why they wouldn’t work. Your article proved somewhat comforting in that it assures me that my aberrant musings have not been wholly singular.

At the moment I am familiar with only one perpetual-motion device which, of necessity, will certainly work if provided with a suitable governor to prevent destructive rotation. This device is sketched at right. As can be readily seen, this machine consists of a spoked wheel to the rim of which numbers are rigidly affixed. As all the numbers are placed perpendicular to the axis, those on the left are sixes while those on the right are nines. Nearly everybody knows nine is a larger number than six. Leaving aside the numbers on the vertical axis, at 9a) and (b), you have five sixes going up—or thirty—and five nines going down—or forty-five. Since forty-five is larger than thirty, it is obvious that the wheel will operate in a clockwise direction.

Very truly yours, Stuart Huckins Duxbury, Massachusetts

P.S. To avoid unnecessary wracking of the machine itself as well as nervewracking of the postal authorities, the device should be shipped horizontally.